No matter how beneficial the proposal is framed look, the undeniable truth is that it will have an irrevocably devastating effect on our local environment. The construction and operation of Bradwell B stands to diminish the quality of life of thousands of people throughout the Dengie and in the towns and villages beyond.
The consultation documents cite an anticipated build time of 9 – 12 years. That is a decade of noise, pollution and loss of amenity as the largest construction site in Europe* devastates one of the most tranquil and precious parts of the Essex countryside.
* Based on the number of workers compared with `Hinckley C – with an estimated 6 million tonnes of construction materials to be transported to the site.
Traffic Devastation and Air Pollution
If the development is allowed to go ahead the Bradwell countryside will be almost entirely lost to concrete sprawl, and road traffic along the B roads to the peninsular will increase to urban proportions.
This will impact the whole of the Dengie peninsular and beyond, with related development (for traffic management) stretching out as far as Danbury and South Woodham Ferrers, with dramatic increases in HGV traffic through all towns and villages along the route, shown below.
An estimated 500 – 700 two-way vehicles movements per day.
That’s up to 1400 every single day.
Made up of 40 ton tippers, worker buses, contractor vehicles and private vehicles.
This increase in traffic will increase the risk of serious accidents, increase noise and air pollution, and damage to local roads and property, reducing the quality of life or residents not just in the immediate area, but also in the villages through which that traffic is routed.
This means an increase in congestion and related loss of amenity across the peninsular from South Woodham Ferrers and Danbury across the stretch of the Dengie out to Bradwell-on-sea
HGV traffic of these proportions will increase air pollution. This will affect everyone in he area, and will have the greatest impact on the most vulnerable members of our communities. Older people, children, pregnant women and those with cardiovascular and/or respiratory disease will be most severely affected. We seek to protect our communities from this potential increase in pollution.
Influx of Workers
The build will see a 700% increase in the local population* which has the potential to generate negative social impacts from the mass movement of workers. And estimated 6,100 of whom will be based on the site, giving a total of 9,100 workers.
*Based on figures from the 2011 census data.
The worker campus is set to house 4,500 people.
The construction of the buildings could stretch to six stories, in addition to static and touring caravans, car parks, recreational and welfare facilities, all situated within close proximity of the tiny villages of Bradwell Waterside and Bradwell Village.
As the proposal for worker accommodation seeks to provide temporary accommodation for up to 4,500 workers, there would be a shortfall of 1,600 workers who will presumably be renting in an area where rental accommodation is already in short supply. This will in turn drive up rents for existing local residents, resulting in a housing shortage and rising costs within the wider area.
The DCO process allows for up to 500 new homes to be built to help meet this demand – permanently increasing the population of our rural area, putting substantive additional demands on local resources and infrastructure as well as negatively impacting the local environment.
3,000 “local” workers are due to be drafted in to fill positions during the construction process. However, with relatively low unemployment within Essex, we would suggest that the numbers of local workers would be far less, requiring even more workers to be imported in to live on or local to the site.
Loss of Amenity
Currently families, hikers, cyclists, artists, photographers, ornithologists and nature-lovers have access to one of the most unspoilt and remote beaches and nature reserves in the country.
The loss of amenity in respect to beach and seawall access during construction phase of 12 years will include access to the new English coastal path, depriving visitors and residents of access to the beach and sea wall – having a negative effect on local tourism.
The riverside site does not offer sufficiently deep water to accommodate the construction of a bulk material jetty. The resulting work-around would likely be a conveyor and pipeline system, which would be close to the residential village of Bradwell Waterside, resulting in an extreme loss of amenity through noise, pollution and diminishment of the natural beauty.
The alternative option of a beach landing facility would require the building of a roadway across the coastal path and a 90 metre platform on the shoreline. This would destroy the shoreline permanently, resulting in loss of amenity to residents, visitors and the sailing community.
Bradwell B have stated they would retain this facility after the construction phase.
The proposed site boundary will cut through existing properties, including a nature reserve, and it stands to abut others including a care home for vulnerable older people, as well as listed buildings.
Once operational, the two new nuclear reactors will be operating within close proximity to large populations including Colchester, Southend and Chelmsford – all of which are within fall-out range.
In addition, two new intermediate-term nuclear waste and spent fuel storage facilities are unlikely to offer a long-term solution for radioactive waste, which stands to increase the associated radioactive risk to the wider community.
The development would also involve the installation of a new power transmission infrastructure including a large substation, presumably with overhead high voltage lines crossing the landscape.
Special thanks to Linda Gemmill for researching this post.